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October 03, 2023
There are two books that have been top sellers for indie bookstores around the country recently that I am impatiently waiting to read:Tom Lake
I have only read one book by Patchett - The Dutch House - and I listened to it because Tom Hanks was reading it.
I loved it. Not just because he was the reader and did an amazing job, it was a good book. Reminder: I (Ang) look for good writing and good character development in a book. I don’t really care about plot.
The Dutch House is well written and the characters are complex and dynamic.
Here is a quick summary from Goodreads:
In the spring of 2020, Lara's three daughters return to the family's orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake.
As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother, and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew.
Tom Lake is a meditation on youthful love, married love, and the lives parents have led before their children were born. Both hopeful and elegiac, it explores what it means to be happy even when the world is falling apart. As in all of her novels, Ann Patchett combines compelling narrative artistry with piercing insights into family dynamics. The result is a rich and luminous story, told with profound intelligence and emotional subtlety, that demonstrates once again why she is one of the most revered and acclaimed literary talents working today.
I love a generational tale about families, and after reading how Patchett wrote the family in The Dutch House, I absolutely trust her.The Vaster Wilds
The other book I am very excited about that has been flying off the shelves across the country is Lauren Groff’s The Vaster Wilds.
I have read several of Groff’s books. My favorite is probably The Monsters of Templeton. A woman returns to her childhood home after a scandalous affair and finds out her mother has been lying to her all this time. Looking for the truth takes her back generations (yup-another family saga!).
But this time there is a monster. Its corpse appears in the lake. A Monster. Yes, the townspeople are interested in it, but not on the level you’d expect.
It’s a wonderful story, with a touch of magical realism and lots of self discovery.
I also enjoyed Arcadia and The Fates and the Furies by Groff. I did not enjoy The Matrix and found it pretty outside of her style - it was stark and cold - but maybe that was because it took place in an abby. But I just didn’t love the characters, but I did love the message. Anyway, it was a quick read, and I read on because I really trust her as an author.
Here is what The Vaster Wilds promises (also from Goodreads):
A servant girl escapes from a colonial settlement in the wilderness. She carries nothing with her but her wits, a few possessions, and the spark of god that burns hot within her. What she finds in this terra incognita is beyond the limits of her imagination and will bend her belief in everything that her own civilization has taught her.
Lauren Groff’s new novel is at once a thrilling adventure story and a penetrating fable about trying to find a new way of living in a world succumbing to the churn of colonialism. The Vaster Wilds is a work of raw and prophetic power that tells the story of America in miniature, through one girl at a hinge point in history, to ask how—and if—we can adapt quickly enough to save ourselves.
The reviews are stunning. I am going to read it. And you should too!
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December 04, 2023